Problog

Hello and welcome to my blog. It is a blog about an Air Force Physician that was reluctantly deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan for 6 months.

I have to admit, I did not exactly volunteer for the deployment, and I was a little anxious about how it would all turn out. I ended up making the best of it, and surprisingly, I actually had a pleasant, life changing, experience.

I decided to keep the blog up and running because I kept on hearing, "Why is it that you only hear the bad news coming from Iraq and Afghanistan." I figured that I was helping spread a positive message about what we are doing over. Even more important, I wanted to continue to spread the word about the plight of the Afghan people, 99.9% of which are the most incredibly friendly people that you will ever meet. The title picture is a great example of that. I have never encountered such genuinely warm and friendly people. It was so strange to see so many people with so little material objects, yet at the same time, filled with so much of the joy that comes with close family ties, abundant friends, and a close knit community. We could definetly learn a lot from them.

You may notice, as you read the blog in its entirety, my arc. I shift from focusing on myself and my personal comforts, to shifting my focus on the Afghan cause. It is very easy to get distracted by the hustle of daily life and the comforts that the U.S. provides. It is really a challenge to awake from that coma and to start to care and think about the welfare of other people unrelated to you. I think it really took me about 4 or 5 months before I really opened my eyes and became personally affected by what I was experiencing. I hope I was able to recreate it.

I have tried to keep the blog squeaky clean so as to not offend anyone (or get me in trouble-I am still in the military). Even though I am a political junky with very strong personal opinions I have been steadfast in keeping this site free of any politics. I was called to do a job and I tried to do it to the best of my ability regardless of my political stance.

I recreated the blog to read more like a book, or should I say blook (get used to the corniness it only gets worse from here) just to make it an easier read. I have removed some names and pictures just to keep it more anonymous. I hope that it helps in making it less about me and more about the cause.

Lastly, in the spirit of the blog, I decided to include the Chipin Widget that I used to raise money for Nazia. If I get any additional money I will send the funds to The Women of Hope Project and someone over in Kabul will discretely give it to her (unless I hear otherwise). You can also contribute directly to the Women of Hope Project website. They are a wonderful cause. If you enjoy this blog then feel free to contribute. I am sure that once you read her story you will be very moved.

So kick back. Get ready to hopefully laugh and definitely cry.
If you like what you read then post a comment. I will be continuously editing this site in an attempt to improve it. Who knows maybe one day it will become a book!

Enjoy. Thanks for reading.

-Shazdoc

Today Show Clip

Chipin Widget

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

....and a multivitamin!!!

"Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards."

-Vernon Sanders Law

My job has started to get a lot more fun. I am finally done with the boring part, which was the setting up of the new clinic. I now have started to do the "mentoring" part that I was so looking forward to.

I brought with me to Kabul with a number of old medical texts and medical related CDs. After I arrived the Army provided me with a number of new books, some of which cost almost $200.00. So I decided that I was goint to give some of my old text books to some of the providers in the new clinic. You would have thought that I gave them Rolex watches. The ER doc in particular was the most appreciative. You could see his eyes light up when I gave him the ER text. It is probably the only medical book that he owns that was written in the past 20 years. He was so excited that he had me write a little note and sign the inside cover.

My first order of business was to gauge the doctors level of medical knowledge so I could see where my focus should be. I went through a medical text and ask questions like, "Abdominal pain, what is your differential diagnosis for this location?" "How would you treat a myocardial infarction?" For the most part they got most of the answers right. A couple of answers threw me for a loop though. We were discussing the treatment for back pain and the ER doctor initially gave me all of the right answers. He said that he would use an anti inflammatory agent, then he mentioned a muscle relaxant, then he threw in, ....."and a multivitamin!!" I said, "a multivitamin, why a multivitamin?" He went on to give some explanation that did not quite make a lot of sense. I just smiled and gave him one of my funny looks. I figured if the medicine didn't hurt the patient then I will pick my battles.

Like I said, he did pretty good with all of the medical questions that I quizzed him on with exception of one big one, diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Usually when someone with Type 1 diabetes is first diagnosed they come into the ER with nonspecific symptoms like confusion, fatigue, increased thirst, frequent urination, etc. Their symptoms are related to their blood sugar being too high because they do not have insulin to process it. When I asked the ER doc how he would treat a patient with DKA he hesitated for a second and thought long and hard. After about 1 minute he came back with, "A diuretic!"A diuretic is the opposite medication that you would use. You would not want to give it because patients are usually severely dehydrated. We spent some time discussing this issue.

I now have identified a few areas that I need to focus on. Tonight I am going to work on some lectures and load them on to my thumb drive so I can do some more teaching.

I am trying to load a picture book of the volunteer community relations (VCR) project that was done yesterday. They delivered some cloths to some really needy families. In addition, they also delivered a bunch of balloons and bubbles to kids. Most of those kids had never played with bubbles. The pictures that were that taken were some of the best that I have seen so far. It just continues to amaze me how, where ever you go in Afghanistan, no matter how terrible the living conditions are, the kids are all the same, happy, laughing, and smiling. Adults could really learn a lot from them. They really know how to make the most out of really bad situations.

That reminds me of a conversation that I had with one of the doctors the other day. We were talking about his son and how his son is always distracted and never wants to do his homework. I asked him why, and whether or not it because of a computer or video games. He answered, no, he was too busy playing with his marbles. That gave me a big laugh. So, no matter if it is video games, computers, or marbles, kids are the same where ever you go.

Thanks for reading.

11 comments:

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